NBC Cancels Megyn Kelly’s Show After Blackface Controversy
NEW YORK (AP) — Former Fox News Channel personality, Megyn Kelly, was fired on Friday, October 26th, after suggesting that it was acceptable for white people to wear blackface on Halloween.
The show, ‘Megyn Kelly Today,’ will be hosted by other co-anchors on next week, NBC said.
An anonymous person stated that negotiations over Kelly’s exit from the network are underway, but no official address of Kelly’s future with the network has been made.
Bryan Freedman, an attorney for Kelly, said in a statement that she “remains an employee of NBC News and discussions about next steps are continuing.” He did not elaborate.
Kelly is in the second year of a three-year contract that reportedly pays her more than $20 million a year.
The show’s cancellation came four days after she provoked a firestorm for her on-air comments about blackface as a costume.
“But what is racist?” Kelly said Tuesday. “Truly, you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface at Halloween or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid, that was OK, as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character.”
Critics accused her of ignoring the ugly history of minstrel shows and movies in which whites applied blackface to mock blacks as lazy, ignorant or cowardly.
Kelly apologized to fellow NBC staffers later in the day and made a tearful apology on her show Wednesday. She did not host new episodes of “Megyn Kelly Today” as scheduled on Thursday and Friday.
Kelly, 47, made her debut as a NBC morning host in September 2017, taking over the 9 a.m. slot at “Today” and saying she wanted viewers “to have a laugh with us, a smile, sometimes a tear and maybe a little hope to start your day.” She did cooking demonstrations and explored emotional topics.
She largely floundered with that soft-news focus, and a pair of awkward and hostile interviews with Hollywood figures Jane Fonda and Debra Messing backfired. Kelly briefly found more of a purpose with the eruption of the #MeToo movement.
She made news when interviewing women who accused President Donald Trump of inappropriate behavior and spoke with accusers of Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, Roy Moore and others, as well as women who say they were harassed on Capitol Hill.
Time magazine, which honored “The Silence Breakers” as its Person of the Year, cited Kelly as the group’s leader in the entertainment field. The episode with Trump accusers had more than 2.9 million viewers, one of her biggest audiences.
But strains continued behind the scenes. Kelly last month publicly called for NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack to appoint outside investigators to look into why the network didn’t air Ronan Farrow’s stories about Weinstein and allowed Farrow to take the material to The New Yorker.
And her ratings have been consistently down from what “Today” garnered in the 9 a.m. hour before Kelly came on board. In its first year, Kelly’s show averaged 2.4 million viewers a day, a drop of 400,000 from the year before.
The latest controversy may have tipped the balance. Both NBC’s “Nightly News” and “Today” did stories on her blackface comment, and weatherman Al Roker said Kelly “owes a big apology to people of color across the country.”
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